By Rupa Shenoy
A woman shops at Allandale Farm in Chestnut Hill.
Credit Rupa Shenoy / WGBH News
The northeast is a terrible place to be a farmer.
Somehow, Allandale Farm has hung on since before the United States was a country. John Lee, who manages the farm for the Allandale family, looks out on Allandale’s rows of vegetables, but sees mostly stones.
“This is New England,” Lee said. “We grow stones.”
Those stones are part of the reason why, today, nearly all of the food people in New England eat is grown someplace else — in far-off places like California. The system is working for now, but in the future, those faraway farms may not be as reliable, and their produce may not be as affordable. That may create an opening for New England farms to start producing more of our food for the first time in 200 years.
To explore the constellation of issues that revolve around the food we eat, WGBH News has partnered with The American Academy of Arts and Sciences to produce a special five-part series. This is the first installment.
Once, in the mid-1800s, New England had almost 250,000 farms. The region could feed itself until farmers went south to fight in the Civil War — and discovered that soil elsewhere wasn’t riddled with rocks.
“These young men just went off to war and saw what the economic opportunities were, and a lot of them didn’t come back,” Lee said.
Global Climate Change